My research at the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Tsukuba involved library advocacy.
There are an estimated 19,092 libraries in Canada. This includes public libraries, school libraries, academic (university) libraries, provincial libraries, special libraries, and one national library. These libraries all depend on the funding that they receive from federal, provincial, and local governments in their efforts to bring state-of-the-art library and information services to the citizens of Canada. Libraries are politically vulnerable entities because their level of political salience is low (meaning that they are not well-known in political circles), and the amount of controversy they stir up is also low, so they are not considered to be “politically useful tools” by most politicians.
Certain librarians and library associations have noticed the precarious position of libraries in Canadian political circles and have set out to make sure that the library voice is heard when legislative decisions are being made. Library advocacy, while still not a major movement in library circles, is gaining ground. Lobbying, once — and perhaps still — a dirty word in the minds of some librarians, has become a necessity.
For the purposes of my research “lobbying” was defined as “conducting activities aimed at influencing public officials, especially members of a legislative body, on legislation”. Lobbying is undertaken in order to attempt to influence or sway a public official toward a desired action. The desired action could be the passing of certain legislation, or equally, it could entail blocking certain legislation.
2004 Research Trip to Canada
I took a trip to Canada (Jan 19 – Feb 18, 2004) to learn more about library advocacy and to decide on a research topic for my thesis.
2005 JSLIS Conference
Here are the materials I used during my presentation at the 2005 Japan Society of Library and Information Science (JSLIS) Conference in May 2005. (The materials are all in Japanese.)
- 2005 JSLIS Abstract: Library Advocacy in Canada
- 2005 JSLIS Conference Slides (pdf)
- 2005 JSLIS Conference Handout 1: Outline (pdf)
- 2005 JSLIS Conference Handout 2: Timeline (pdf)
- Library Advocacy in Canada: Defending the Library Book Rate
- Public Libraries in Canada (Japanese) (This is a chapter in a book commissioned by the Ministry of Education in Japan.)